John first ran for public office in 1997 and was elected Peekskill City Councilman, beginning over two decades of public service which included three terms as Mayor and five terms as Westchester County Legislator with three terms as Minority Leader of the board. As mayor and legislator, John was eager to improve the area in which his family has lived for more than a century and quickly earned a reputation as a strong, independent, nonpartisan voice for fiscal responsibility and widespread revitalization for Peekskill and Northern Westchester.
John was born and raised in Peekskill, graduating from Assumption School (1972) and Peekskill High School (1976) and received a BS degree in Technology from SUNY Oswego, where his academic achievements gained him induction into Epsilon Pi Tau, the International Honorary Fraternity of Technology. He earned his MS degree in Technology from the City College of New York. He began his teaching career in 1980 at Peekskill High School, his alma mater, as an instructor in Technology and Social Studies, retiring in 2013 after 33 years teaching.
John has also been instrumental in advancing the Arts Community in Westchester. He presided over the establishment of the Peekskill Art Lofts, and the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art. During John’s tenure as mayor the Paramount Center for the Arts went through a complete restoration costing over $1 million. As legislator, he was in the forefront of securing budgetary support for programs across the county. For his efforts, John received the “Advancing the Arts in Westchester Award” by ArtsWestchester.
John’s most recognizable accomplishment has been his promotion and preservation of local history and historic landmarks, bringing an unprecedented focus on the region’s rich history, and its legacy of historic Victorian architecture. His roots in historical preservation stem from his experience as a Revolutionary War re-enactor and member of The Brigade of the American Revolution for 50 years.
John was instrumental in securing the preservation of the Lincoln Depot, now the Lincoln Depot Museum, where he now serves as President. The museum was recognized in 2015 as one of The Best Museums in Westchester. He also secured the preservation of historic Fort Hill as parkland, a 40-acre parcel that was originally a Revolutionary War encampment site. Under his leadership, the United States Dept. of the Interior declared Peekskill a “Preserve America Community.”
John was able to establish a record number of National Register designations of local structures, including the first Downtown and Neighborhood Historic Districts and supported the preservation of the historic Miller House in North White Plains. In 2017 John was named a “Champion of History” by the Lincoln Society in Peekskill.
John and his wife of 37 years, Nancy, live in Peekskill and have two adult children, John, Jr. (fiancé Courtney Kelly) and Katy (husband Mike Mearon). John and Nancy recently welcomed the arrival of their first grandchild, Lacey Mae, in 2019.